Are you an ambitious player?
Well if you are then get excited for Saturday because it’s going to be a great day to test your skills. The challenge you’ll face this week will be in the high volume of teams playing, the quality of those teams and the matchups those teams will be faced with.
With 14 teams to choose from, only Arsenal vs. Newcastle (7:45 AM Saturday), Southampton vs. Norwich (8:30 AM Sunday) and Swansea vs. Man U (11 AM Sunday) won’t be up for selection. The way I look at these days is that the more teams with high priced guys (who are known to be more consistent performers) than there’s a greater potential for big points than usual since average players ceilings might cap out at a 15 points, while big name guys might have the potential to reach 25 or 35 points. This is why I don’t like seeing 7 guys above 9K; Aguero, Kane, Hazard, Costa, Lukaku, Benteke and Silva
What has me even more crazy heading into Saturday is the fact that I don’t see one layup on the board. If you have a matchup you think is a sure thing please let me know on Twitter because I don’t see it. However, as always it’s my goal to provide you with the best options to minimize your risk and maximize your chances for success.
So with so many teams playing, I’m going to do something slightly different this week which I hope you enjoy! Make sure you make it to the bottom for the bonus advice and hit me up on twitter as always @onthelaces with all your questions.
Lock of the Day
Kun Aguero (Man City) Forward – Salary: $11,100
If you haven’t noticed from my selections thus far this season, I like Sergio Aguero almost every week and you should too. This isn’t like other sports on Draftkings where sometimes the site is able to price you out of purchasing the superstar. This is Draftkings Soccer and as long as guys are getting 10 points for a goal, I suggest spending the money and the perennial goal threat week in and week out. If you ride with him and he performs as he did so last week, than you’ll probably lose given the amount of guys to choose from. However, at the same time he’s also one of maybe 5 guys that realistically has a chance to score multiple goals based off the matchups this week. So with that in mind, pick the Argentine because you’re probably not going to win either, if the guy has a big day and you chose not to select him. City have also been the most dominate team thus far knocking off two projected top ten sides and conceding no goals in the process. You can go down the list whether it be; Silva, Kolorav, Yaya, Fernandinho, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna…Not one guys has played below expectation and that’s awesome if you’re the guy sitting up top waiting to be served.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) Forward – Salary: $9,600:
As good as Lukaku has looked, this selection has more to do with the abysmal defending of Tottenham. Lukaku has looked strong thus far, but couple that with the consistent performances from Barkley and Kone when making your selection because the play of the team around a striker matters just as much when choosing to spend +9K on a guy.
Worth Your Buck
Yaya Toure (Manchester City) Midfielder – Salary: $8,200:
When I see City matched up against any bottom half side, I immediately think Yaya Toure. While you can never go wrong with Silva in a juicy matchup either I feel like Yaya imposes himself in a special way during games such as this. While as I’ve said every week thus far, Watford are no push overs this is Man City at the Etihad. While they won’t be afraid, it will be reiterated that conceding an early goal all but ends their chances which is why I think they’ll come out pretty cautious and looking to counter. That’s fine if City were on the road, but at home with the crowd behind them, I expect the near chances early eventually find the back of the net behind the energy of the fans. Through three games (although early) they seem to be playing the best soccer I’ve seen in the EPL since a guy named Ferguson was still coaching (sorry Mourinho, but turning expressive guys into robots excites no one). We know Yaya is always going to have his ups and downs, but on Yaya’s roller coaster ride he also hits the some of the highest highs the league can offer. After a quiet outing without a point last week, I like Yaya to get back on the board this week vs. Watford. Maybe he’ll even give us a free kick if we’re lucky.
Seamus Coleman (Everton) Defender – Salary: $5,800
Seamus Coleman is as quality as they come. Although sometimes not the world’s most fantastic defender, the Irish wingback gives you the offensive fantasy points of a midfielder regardless of how his team does at the back. I mean seriously, we are three games into the season and he’s already got 16 crosses! That alone is an average of over 5 points a game, just think about that for a second. Is there another defender in the league that can still put up 6 points in a 2-0 loss and 11 points in a 2-2 draw? Maybe one or two, I suppose. I’m expecting goals in this match for both sides because honestly a goal or two could crack this thing open into one of the wilder affairs of the season. Neither team is committed to defending and as a result will always look to attack if the moment presents itself. This type of match is perfect for a high flying wingback like Coleman to whip in 6 or 7 balls, draw a couple of fouls and maybe even get in on the scoring. Remember, defenders aren’t penalized for giving up lots of goals (only goalies are). You can go with a cheaper option if you don’t have the money, but this seems like as high a percentage as any to guarantee you almost 10 points, if not more.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) Midfielder – Salary: $7,500
He’s probably my favorite player in the EPL, and it’s the moments like he produced on opening weekend vs. Stoke City that sum up why. It takes one instant for Coutinho to change everything and against a West ham side that has struggled I expect the Liverpool star to take charge infront of the home fans with a stellar performance.
Pedro (Chelsea) Forward – Salary: $5,000:
Thank you Draftkings for making him only $5,000 and I anticipate those who don’t select him will be kicking themselves for wasting money on a high profile striker that costs double what Pedro does. Last week the ex-Barcelona man kicked off his EPL debut with a goal and an assist, but Draftkings didn’t let us select him. This week he’s been gift wrapped to you for the taking and I encourage you to pull the trigger. If you look back through the past decade, at the wave of premier talents to make the switch from La Liga to the EPL, one thing becomes quite clear. Of all those top guys who succeeded in La Liga, their star only grew in the EPL; Silva, Sanchez, Fabregas, Cazorla , Aguero and Mata are all better known for their exploits in the Prem than La Liga and I expect Pedro to fit this mold as well. Pedro is made to dominate this league in Mourinho’s winger friendly system with Hazard on the opposite wing. If he were 7K or 8K, then I suppose I might not take him (probably still would), but at 5K this is the steal of the day because he will get fouled, will provide service and will take shots regardless of whether he can score.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) Midfielder – Salary: $3,900:
Again, if DraftKings is going to sleep on these new signings with tremendous talent then we will gladly grab the gift being presented to us before they realize their mistake. At $3,900 you’re getting a guy who had an awesome first week in the EPL, recording 13 points in a draw with Norwich. This Stoke City squad with a ton of hype around them has yet to win and you can bet they will be looking at this matchup with West Brom in the friendly confines of the Britannia, as the perfect place to get off the mark. He’s got all the tools to be the difference maker each week, but with the unbelievable play that Mame Diouf has displayed thus far, it’s only increased the creative midfielder’s value. I like this matchup vs. West Brom who seem destined for relegation (or at the least, in a dog fight to escape). I understand they gave Chelsea a good game last week, but ultimately they conceded 6 goals thus far. Sure it was against, Chelsea and City which might be enough of a reason to doubt Stoke, but for me it isn’t…not for this price atleast.
Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) Defender – Salary: $3,300:
He’s averaging 7 points a week and Villa have two loses already. On top of this, he’s recorded a shutout and a 1GA bonus in two of the three contests and has the pace and ambition necessary to provide a threat down the flank having delivered 4, 3 and 3 crosses in his three matches respectively.
Traps to Avoid
Diego Costa (Chelsea) Forward – Salary: $9,700:
Last week was easily his best week of the year, but in deciding between Kane and Costa for trap to the week, I had to go with him vs. Crystal Palace. Palace are a very formidable side, capable of holding possession when needed and driving at Chelsea without fear. They have talent across the pitch through Bolasie, Zaha, Cabaye and Wickham and sturdy work horses like Jedinak and Macarthur to round out the side. The backline is big, physical and experienced; but most of all will be unafraid to test Costa in the physical challenge all day long. While this might result in a challenge that leads to a penalty, it won’t result in points for Costa if Hazard steps up to take the penalty, so who cares. I think the danger for Palace is going to come off the wings where Pedro and Hazard will torment the Palace defense all night long. This pick is more to deter you away from him in favor of some other options than anything else, since obviously telling you to avoid a Chelsea striker is ridiculous in and of itself. If you’re a Chelsea fan though and you think I’m a fool, I won’t fight you this week just encourage you to think rationally and explore some of the other options in his class of striker.
Allan Nyom (Watford) Defender – Salary: $3,400:
He’s become a hot commodity out of the gate, averaging a ridiculous 11.3 points per contest. As the third highest defender in terms of points, while only paying $3,400 of your bank may seem enticing he’s got Manchester City this week. I understand you don’t lose points for giving up multiple goals, but you do lose the bonuses and you definitely have less of the ball. For Nyom, whose averaging 6 crosses per game, he needs the ball to become valuable in a matchup where his side is likely to give up a goal or two at the least. I understand Watford haven’t conceded in two matches, but let’s be realistic as Watford travel to the Etihad in their first match against a Champions League caliber side. Whether they start 4 backs, 6 backs or 7 backs (which is actually possible based off the guys they like to use); they still stand very little chance of walking out of one of the toughest road venues to get a win in over the past three seasons.
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) Midfielder – Salary: $7,800:
He’s been a dreadful fantasy option all season long and don’t expect that to change. In last season’s first half, teams allowed the Spaniard far too much space and Chelsea were firing on all cylinders. This season Fabregas has less time on the ball and has become the deep lying tempo setter, unable to get in on the act in the final third. That’s an issue for fantasy, even if he puts in his shift for the side.
Depending on who you decide to select and what money you have at your disposal you might have to go with a few guys I have not named. If this arises, don’t panic because here are a few names I like when factoring in cost, matchup, form and production.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea – Eden Hazard ($10,300), Wilfried Zaha ($5,500), Thibault Courtois ($5,100), Pape Souare ($3,400)
Leicester City vs. Bournemouth – Shinji Okazaki ($5,000), Kasper Schmeichel ($4,600), Charlie Daniels ($2,800)
Sunderland vs. Aston Villa – Either Goalie, Jermain Lens ($5,700), Rudy Gestede ($4,500), Ashley Westwood ($4,000), Scott Sinclair ($3,800)
Watford vs. Man City – David Silva ($9,000), Raheem Sterling ($8,600), Joe Hart ($5,800), Vincent Kompany ($3,900), Bacary Sagna ($3,700)
West Brom vs. Stoke City – Mame Diouf ($6,500), Jack Butland ($4,600), Glen Johnson ($4,600), Jose Rondon ($4,500), Callum McManaman ($3,800), Marco Van Ginkel ($3,500)
West Ham vs. Liverpool – Christian Benteke ($9,500), Roberto Firmino ($5,900), Simon Mignolet ($5,200), Nathan Clyne ($5,200)
Everton vs. Tottenham – Ross Barkley ($7,700), Nacer Chadli ($6,500), Arouna Kone ($5,700), Kyle Walker ($4,400), Tyias Browning ($3,000)